Attracting users to click or shop your website can be hard, and conversions can vary greatly depending on the business. Whether it's a form completion, newsletter signup, share to social media or making a purchase, it’s our job to optimize these conversion points and help users and businesses alike achieve their goals. Check out some best practices in user experience and user interface design that can help improve your website conversions.

Don’t be unique.

When it comes to website design and layout, there is an advantage to looking like everyone else. It’s called “familiarity bias.” We prefer things we are familiar with. You can increase your website conversions by using icons, controls, page layouts, and other conventions that web users already understand. We’re all for creative expression, but don’t innovate to the point that you make things unrecognizable. If a user must spend time learning how to use your page, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. Designs that convert don’t distract.

Faster is better.

Forty-seven percent of people expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less. Fifty-three percent of mobile users abandon sites that take over three seconds to load. A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7 percent reduction in conversions. And it’s not just users paying attention. Search engines are watching, too. Slow page speeds can directly affect your search rankings and make it harder for people to find you.

The first step is knowing how your site’s performing now. Run a test using a tool like WebPageTest, Google PageSpeed Insights, or GTmetrix. Then, start tuning. Small changes will add up. You can improve your page load speed by optimizing your images for web display, limiting font faces and font variants, using a content delivery network (CDN) to cache content, and minifying your CSS, Javascript, and HTML.

The fold doesn’t matter.

It’s a myth that people don’t scroll. People have no trouble scrolling, provided you’ve designed your page to encourage scrolling, and your content is valuable. Research has found that 66 percent of people’s attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold. There is no need to pack content or calls to action within the first screen view. In fact, with the huge range in devices and viewport sizes we’re using to consume the web these days, “the fold” doesn’t even exist anymore.

Encourage scrolling by ensuring your headlines, subheads, and messaging is clear and written in plain language. Also, ensure you’re using whitespace appropriately to avoid the “illusion of completeness” where too much blank space makes it look like you’ve reached the end of the content.

Your carousel slider isn't all it’s cracked up to be.

Did you know only one percent of people click on a homepage slider? And of that one percent, 89 percent of people click on the slide in the first position. Many people mistake them for ads, a phenomenon known as “banner blindness.” The slider decreases performance, adding between .4 and 5 seconds to your website load time (recall above we said 47 percent of people will leave after two seconds of loading). Sliders that auto-advance take control away from your users, decreasing usability and increasing frustration. Lastly, they’re bad for accessibility and are impossible for many keyboard and screen reader users to interact with.

When it comes to carousel sliders, the best solution is to remove them entirely and use a different method. While carousel controls can be very useful for displaying things like product images, quotations, or related videos, they are a poor choice for the homepage hero.

Are you still reading?

When it comes to content on the web, less is more. Fifty-five percent of people spend fewer than 15 seconds actively consuming a page. Even in an article like this one, only about 33 percent of people will spend longer than 15 seconds reading. People don’t read on the web, they scan. People also hate “marketese,” the promotional and boastful writing style some companies use to differentiate themselves. Research has found that this hurts your credibility and affects the usability of your site.

Help improve your conversions by talking about your offering clearly and precisely in language anyone can understand. Enable easier scanning by calling out your businesses’ main keywords, products, and offerings in clear, concise content.

Want to improve your website conversions through smart application of user experience and user interface design best practices? Contact us today to talk about more ways to get people doing what you want when they visit you online.